Three years ago, First Aid Productions attempted to book the popular metal band The Dillinger Escape Plan to play a show on campus. Although the band was interested, the process for First Aid to acquire funding was extensive and time-consuming. While First Aid waited for their proposal to be accepted by the Student Finance Committee, The Dillinger Escape Plan booked a show elsewhere and never came to Marquette.
Starting this past fall semester, First Aid became an Earmarked Fund Group (EFG). As an EFG, First Aid is allocated a certain amount of money to spend on bringing acts to campus each semester. Without having to apply for funding from the Student Finance Committee and wait for approval to submit offers to performers, First Aid already has their budget. The group can now avoid bands sliding through the cracks, like with The Dillinger Escape Plan.
Senior T.J. Hanrahan, a booking agent for First Aid, said that becoming an EFG has impacted his job immensely.
“It shortened down the process and made my job a lot easier by being able to immediately get back to the agent,” Hanrahan said. “Because when booking the tours, a lot of it is first come, first serve.”
Although the acquiring of funds and booking of bands has now been simplified, the decision on which bands to invite to Northern is still a process that takes time and energy.
Lindsey Archambeau, president of First Aid Productions, said when it comes time to decide on an act to pursue, it’s completely a group effort.
“First off, we look at how much money we have to spend on a certain show, and we try to get the biggest name with the amount of money,” Archambeau said.
The group then passes around paper and the members write down a list of bands that they think would be successful at NMU. From there, the lists are compiled and a vote is held. Once the candidates are narrowed down to one, First Aid turns to their booking agents, like Hanrahan, and they start making calls.
Just because an offer is made, however, doesn’t mean the band will automatically accept.
“There are always the instances where a band is like, ‘Where? We’re not going there!'” Archambeau said.
When First Aid became an EFG before last semester, Northern Arts and Entertainment (NAE) lost its EFG status. NAE formerly was the premier group that brought bands to campus, including Jason Mraz and Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba.
First Aid is now filling the role of booking the biggest names that Northern can bring in, while also trying to keep the student body happy with their choices.
“We try to diversify the amount of music that is brought up to campus,” Hanrahan said.
Some of the bands that First Aid has brought to campus in the past include MxPx, Lucky Boys Confusion and Chiodos.
This semester, First Aid has booked solo artist Ben Kweller to perform in the Great Lakes Rooms on March 22. Another headlining act for an April 10 show will be decided within the coming weeks, Hanrahan said. A list has been narrowed down, and the group just needs to make a final vote and submit an offer.